Tips for creating an excellent resume for your first job

Posted by Amanda Augustine

November 10, 2014 @ 11:54 AM

A successful career starts with a great resume. Here’s how to sell yourself with very little experience.

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In today’s job market, the internship has become the new entry-level position. If you want to build a successful career, it starts with a series of internships, co-ops and fellowships throughout your college career. But to land these coveted opportunities, you must first write a winning resume. [TWEET]

I recently shared with Business Insider’s Jacquelyn V. Smith a sample resume and my top tips for job seekers with no experience. Here are the top takeaways:

Topics: Ask Amanda, Resume & Cover Letters, New to the Workforce

The 24-step modern resume

Posted by Guest Contributor

August 18, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

Resume Checklist: Follow these best practices to ensure your resume gets through the spam filter, applicant tracking system, and to the recruiters and hiring managers.

By Lisa Vaas

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What’s the difference between a computerized ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and a black hole?

Not much, if you don’t know which aspects of your resume give you a good ranking vs. what makes these software programs choke.

The people who work with these tools say it best: “[They’re] a wonderful tool (if utilized correctly) for recruiters and hiring managers; however, they can be a black hole for the applicant if their resume is not accurately targeted to the open position with appropriate keywords and/or highlighted experience,” according to Laurie M. Winslow, principal at Talent Innovations Group Inc. Winslow has worked with a slew of vendors’ ATSes over her 20-plus years in human resources, as an executive search consultant, an in-house corporate recruiter and as a career coach and professional resume writer.

Topics: Resume & Cover Letters

How to write a great cover letter

Posted by Guest Contributor

August 11, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Skip the “Dear Sir or Madam” and zero in on exactly how you’re going to solve whatever problems the hiring company has.

By Lisa Vaas

Do hiring professionals even read cover letters for senior candidates anymore? Some say yes; some say no, they don’t bother unless the resume in question has grabbed their attention.

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The simple answer is that you should assume your resume will merit a look at your cover letter; always include one (either as a separate document or an e-mail that acts as one); and make it exceptional, so you stand out from the crowd. TheLadders talked to hiring and career management professionals to find out exactly how a good cover letter is laid out and what it contains.

Dear who?

The salutation is your first chance to make contact with a hiring professional, but it’s one spot where laziness often wins out over due diligence. We’re talking about the “Dear Sir or Madam” approach. What this generic salutation says isn’t positive: Namely, that the author couldn’t be bothered to find out the hiring manager’s name.

Topics: Resume & Cover Letters

How to send a resume by e-mail

Posted by Guest Contributor

July 28, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Sending your resume by e-mail may sound like the simplest part of the job search, but beware.

By Lisa Vaas

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It sounds simple: You learn about a job opening and prepare electronic copies of your resume and cover letter to make your case for an interview.

Not so fast, though: Clicking the "Send" button is may send your document straight to a spam folder for unwanted e-mail. Here's how to increase the odds your resume will be read by a recruiter or hiring manager.

Topics: Job Search, Job Application & Follow Up, Resume & Cover Letters

Which skills do employers value most from military veterans?

Posted by Amanda Augustine

May 20, 2014 @ 05:43 PM

Make the military-to-civilian career transition easier by highlighting these sought-after strengths.

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Our nation’s veterans continue to find the job search more challenging than their civilian counterparts, according to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the employment rate for this group has shown improvement, the job hunt remains a difficult process.

“The problem is often not a lack of skills and qualifications,” noted Robert Dagnall, expert resume writer for military-to-civilian transitions. “It’s how to translate military experience into terms employers can recognize and value.”

I spoke with a number of career professionals who specialize in military-to-civilian transitions to find out which skills are most transferrable to, and sought-after by, employers in the private sector. [TWEET]

Topics: Job Search, Resume & Cover Letters

How full-time parents can reclaim a full-time job

Posted by Guest Contributor

May 08, 2014 @ 07:30 AM

You don't have to be paid for your efforts to list them as work experience on your resume.

By Lisa Vaas

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Sonja Frye’s kids were getting older, and she decided she wanted to return to the workforce. The problem was, she didn’t have a resume. She hadn’t worked in years, she told her resume writer, Mandy Minor. What experience could she even put on a resume?

Frye had plenty of work experience, said Minor, co-founder and president of J Allan Writing and Design Studios, who helped Frye write a new resume. She just called it by a different name.

Minor interviewed Frye for several hours and mined a treasure trove of work experience related to her field that would impress any employer. Most of it was related to her position as a council representative to the advisory council of an 800-student elementary school in Florida. There she managed a $419,000 budget overseen by two leadership groups; it represented 100 stakeholders and drafted a 25-page report on the organization’s future direction.

Topics: Job Search, Resume & Cover Letters

How to close the gaps in your resume

Posted by Amanda Augustine

May 06, 2014 @ 04:12 PM

Prove you’ve kept your skills relevant during time off by showcasing your unpaid experience. 

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You took time off to raise a family and now it’s time to return to the workforce. Whether your time off was voluntary or beyond your control, the job search can be daunting when your resume contains employment gaps.

Many stay-at-home parents fail to recognize the valuable experience they’ve gained while managing the household and raising children. Consider how many of the following core competencies can be attributed to you as you prepare to update your resume and return to the workforce.

Topics: Resume & Cover Letters

Resume renovations for your spring job search

Posted by Amanda Augustine

April 15, 2014 @ 04:32 PM

Use these tips to dust off your job application materials and spruce them up for spring.

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Here in New York it’s finally starting to feel like spring! Many of us use this season as an excuse to unclutter our closets and reorganize our work spaces. It’s also a great time to reevaluate our job-search tactics and give them a thorough cleaning.

If your current resume isn’t delivering results, it might be time to spruce it up or even start fresh. Below are articles with top tips to help you renovate your resume this season.

Topics: Ask Amanda, Resume & Cover Letters

13 ways your resume can say 'I’m unprofessional'

Posted by TheLadders Contributor

April 15, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

Hiring pros share the faux pas they find in real resumes, including wacky e-mail addresses, defunct phone numbers and cookie-cutter templates.

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No offense, thebigcheese@domain.com, but if nobody has told you yet, we’re telling you now: That e-mail address is not making you look particularly professional.

Unprofessional e-mail addresses are just one way of sending hiring managers the wrong message. If you want to be taken seriously when you apply for jobs, you need to put some polish on your resume, your cover letter and everything contained therein. Hiring professionals repeatedly run across these red flags that scream “unprofessional.” A number of recruiters and HR managers shared with TheLadders common errors from their own professional experiences.

Topics: Resume & Cover Letters

Resume, meet Technology: Making your resume format machine-friendly

Posted by TheLadders Contributor

April 03, 2014 @ 08:00 PM

How to format a resume so that the software recruiters use to store resumes doesn’t garble your document – and your chances.

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You’ve probably heard this advice for making your resume stand out: Sprinkle in plenty of juicy keywords so recruiters will pluck your document out of the pile.

But these days, the first review of your resume is more likely to be a software program, known as an applicant tracking system (ATS), than a human being interested in the quality of your paper stock and the power of your prose. While those qualities will be important in subsequent rounds, your first challenge will be to win over a very sophisticated machine that plays by its own complex rules.

In these competitive times, is a grab-bag of keywords really enough to ensure your resume rises out of that mysterious electronic swamp? If not, what else do you need to know about the processes that happen inside these ATSes — systems that are, in fact, fueled by sophisticated data-warehousing technologies — to stand the best chance of getting your resume in front of human eyeballs?

Topics: Resume & Cover Letters